The Importance of Hydration: Tips to Stay Hydrated This Summer

By Lavanya

Jun 19, 202410 mins read

The Importance of Hydration: Tips to Stay Hydrated This Summer

Are you sure you are drinking enough water? Everyone knows that an average person needs at least 2 litres or 8 glasses of water per day. But how many of us actually hit this magic number? Sports drinks, energy drinks, and sugary drinks like iced tea don't count! Also, how much water your body needs depends on your individual needs based on gender, the average temperature where you are, your activity level, your body weight, and your age. 


Nothing hydrates your body like plain water. 


Why is hydration important? 


The human body is predominantly made of water. We need water to keep our brains and our bodies working well. Nearly every bodily function, heck, even blood flow, needs adequate water. In addition to this, water also helps regulate our body temperature. When the temperature gets too hot due to the summer heat, we sweat to cool our bodies down naturally. So guess what happens if we don't drink an adequate amount of water? 


Metabolic functions such as digestion also need copious amounts of water. Without enough of it, we end up with problems like constipation, irregular bowel movements, and so on. The effects of good hydration can even be seen in our skin - a well-hydrated body has skin that is moist, supple, and has a healthy glow. 


Just like our bodies, our brains are also made predominantly of water. This is why when there's not adequate water, our cognitive abilities get affected. We start with headaches, which progress to difficulty in concentrating and general irritability. 


Of course, good hydration is necessary for physical performance - intense exercise means more frequent water breaks are required for optimum performance. Without it, our training suffers, muscles get cramped, and fatigue sets in. So if you are engaged in any physical activity, take plenty of water breaks. 


Do you know what are the signs of dehydration?


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Common symptoms of dehydration include 


  • The color of your urine is the best indicator. Pale is good. The darker it gets, the more dehydrated your body is. If it gets dark, like dark yellow or brown, indicates severe dehydration. 
  • Dry mouth - if you can feel your mouth getting dry, it means your body is not producing enough saliva. Which could be because you aren't drinking enough water. Dry skin is another sign. 
  • Without enough water, your body will go into conservation mode and gradually produce less and less urine. If your pee is really reduced, that's another indication that you are dehydrated. 
  • Low blood pressure - when you don't drink enough water, you will start feeling the worsening effects of it. Starting with headache, then dizziness and lightheadedness, progressing to fatigue and general weakness. Eventually, it will affect your blood pressure too. 
  • Heat exhaustion - when you have been overexposed to the sun, chances of heat exhaustion and heat stroke go up. Our skin would feel clammy and cold to the touch and we might even lose consciousness. This is a very dangerous situation and needs immediate medical attention.

How to stay hydrated


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Well, drink plenty of water. Keep track of your water intake throughout the day. You can download apps on your phone to remind you to drink water. Or get those bottles with markings for water level and time, to keep you motivated. It gets hot(ter), you are working out or playing a sport, or outdoors, drink more.


If you are on the move, make sure you carry a metal water bottle with you. Then you can keep sipping from it through the day, ensuring you will never be without it. If, like me, you are bored of the taste of plain water, zhuzh it up. Add slices of lemon or cucumber to it for a subtle flavour. Or add grated ginger or crushed mint for more intense flavouring. Or if you want really fancy, you can even add strawberries to your bottle of water.


There are plenty of foods out there that are rich in water. Melons, citrus fruits, cucumbers, strawberries etc all have high water content.  Fresh fruits, in fact, are a better option than fruit juice. By snacking on these, you can keep your body hydrated.  Coconut water is an excellent hydrating liquid. And an electrolyte drink. It has potassium, magnesium, calcium, sodium, and phosphorous. In a tropical country like India, they are in plentiful supply too. Caffeinated drinks, on the other hand, are not a good idea as they are diuretics and lead to water loss. Which is something we all want to avoid!  


Most of us drink water when we feel thirsty. It is better to avoid this and sip throughout the day, as thirst is the first sign of dehydration, If you are feeling thirsty, it means your body is already dehydrated. So drink water before you feel thirsty. 


Another way to keep our levels of hydration up is to stay cool. We can do this by wearing loose light-coloured cottons and staying in well-ventilated rooms with good air circulation. This way we can prevent fluid loss due to excessive perspiration.


Staying hydrated is extremely important for your health, especially in a tropical country like India, where hot summer months are the norm. By understanding the importance of hydration and making use of these practical tips, you can ensure that your body is well-hydrated and functioning smoothly.